One of the greatest things about living in Iowa City is that there’s always something going on — a famous author speaking at Prairie Lights, a wild house party, a half-finished building burning down. This is particularly true during festival season, which, here in the cultural center of Iowa, encompasses basically every weekend that we can physically stand to be outside. This year’s season was kicked off by Floodwater Comedy Festival, over the first weekend in March. Floodwater features stand-up comedy and improv performances at venues all over town. Hold onto your flower crowns, folks, because it’s time for a review!
First thing’s first: Yes, the festival is named after the flood which devastated much of Eastern Iowa in summer 2008. No one has yet been able to give me a satisfactory answer as to why, except to say that it was started by a bunch of college students. Wacky! Either way, for Iowa City’s small but dedicated comedy scene, it’s a pretty big deal. It’s like the Super Bowl, except less exclusive and more sedentary and the audience drinks a lot more.
The organizers should be commended for their commitment to showcasing different perspectives — this year, we had an incredibly diverse cast of performers from all around the country. In this male-dominated business, it’s rare to be able to perform (and bar crawl!) with so many hilarious women. The 2019 festival also featured several big-ish names, including musical comic Catherine Cohen. Her show had me in tears — both from mirth and from overwhelming fear that I’ll never make it in the big city.
For those of you at home thinking, “Gee, that sounds great. Super excited to wait a whole year for the next one,” well, for one thing, you could stand to be a little less sarcastic. However, the fun never needs to end. Check Little Village’s events calendar to find other comedy shows, as well as open mic nights several times a week, if you’d like to try your hand at it. We promise not to throw fruit at you, as long as you don’t tell any jokes about Tinder.
This article was originally published in Little Village issue 260.